Read about the likely changes we will see in offices following the majority of the workforce working from home.
Covid 19 (if you haven’t heard of it by now…) has now forced the majority of the UK workforce to work from home, if they can.
Interestingly, before we were hit with this crazy pandemic, things were kind of going that way anyway. Statistics show that there has been a 74% jump in the amount of people working from their own home between 2008 and 2018. Entrepreneurs and startups are increasingly based online, and therefore, are growing at home and in coffee shops across the country. Then there’s the flexible workers, the remote workers, freelancers. Businesses are recognising that a worker doesn’t have to be present in the office, to provide the best results.
Regardless of how long you have been working from home, the fact is that as soon as those offices open again for business, things are going to be different. Or at least, they should be. They kind of have to be, actually. When we return to our offices, we will have been working from home for quite some time. Expectations will be different all round. Agile working practises are certainly a way to embrace this new desire for change.
Let’s take a closer look at the changes that happen when you work from home, and how that can be reflected in an agile office environment:
Technology is king
The latest technology makes working so much easier than ever before.
You can conference call, have a team meeting on a messaging app or virtual-meeting software. You can use social media to meet and organise meetings.
There are project management apps for milestones and messaging, calendars and shared information. Collaboration at home is so easy.
This can all be reflected in the office, with additions made to allow face to face meetings if that works the best. Inviting breakout areas, meeting zones or brainstorming zones work well. Glass walls and partitions can help connect people whilst zoning the space.
Technology connects you in more ways than ever before.
Autonomy to some degree
Working from home you are able to work where and how you know best.
People are a bit bored of neutrality and Scandi-minimalism, and that fatigue is reflected in the bright and popping office colour palette of 2020.
In an agile workplace, you can follow your instincts with this too, if the facilities and flexibility are there for you to do that. Agile working means being given everything you need to get the work done, including the freedom to work in the way you feel works best.
Health & wellbeing
Our homes are a space we have cultivated to suit our physical and emotional needs.
The window seat with blankets and books for those times your brain needs a break. The spa bathroom with a waterfall shower to pummel aching muscles. The snazzy coffee machine in the kitchen because you don’t form words until you’ve had that first cup of the good stuff in the morning.
You’ve been in that snuggly, warm womb of a workspace for the entire time isolation lasts. Only to go back to an office where none of those needs are met. A recipe for disaster? Too right. Agile offices need to start providing facilities for their employees that boost their health. From plants to beanbags, free fresh fruit and helpful events, employees need to feel supported in work in the same way they feel supported at home.
Commuting will always be rubbish
Commutes are one of the greatest bugbears of office workers.
Aren’t they hideous? They can take hours of sweaty, crammed public transport. Or if you’re lucky, hours stuck in traffic in your car.
Working from home removes that commute which can mean you’re gifted with extra time at home. More time to spend with your family, more time to enjoy your life. On your return to work, having to deal with the commute again is going to be awful. An agile office might offer various ways to overcome that commute angst, such as:
● Enabling you to work different hours, at least sometimes, means you get to avoid rush hour
● Remote working means you don’t have to commute at all on the days you can work from home
● How about work has cycles for use whenever you want to enjoy an eco-friendly ride to work?
● How about car-sharing for a commute that’s more fun?
Keep the good
Flexibility, hold on to it.
The virus has forced businesses to be imaginative, creative and adaptable when it comes to working around change. It’s forced everybody to be more fluid in how, where and why they work at any one time.
This fluidity is an essential part of an agile office and it should be treasured. It means problem solving creatively, and having the tools, the gusto and the skills to solve those problems quickly.
Workers and employers can take this amazing flexibility learnt and utilised throughout this crisis, and apply it to future operations and processes.
“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”
The above are just some examples of ways in which working from home has paved the way for a new world in the office. Expectations are different now, and companies will be expected to have an agile working environment, in some respects at least.
The time for office transformations is now. And now is the time to start asking yourself, how will your workplace change for the better when you return?